Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jeff Frederick

Ideally, members of the RPV state central committee should have come to Chairman Frederick privately and laid out the charges.

Ideally, our statewide candidates would have stayed clear of this mess.

Ideally, if there were inaccuracy, oversights or mistakes RPV leadership should have all worked together in correcting them.

Ideally, if there was no meeting of the minds no action should have been taken until after the November elections.

But, of course, we don’t live in an ideal world and now ten charges threaten to displace not only Chairman Frederick from RPV but Bob McDonnell from the Governor’s Mansion. It would appear as if we have learned to emulate the Democrats in their uncanny ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Once again, we find ourselves embroiled in a controversy that threatens to split this party – what are average voters supposed to make of this? When will we learn? Why does this party always take our feuds and internal struggles before the press?

Jeff Frederick should be allowed to defend himself and given the benefit of the doubt on most of the charges leveled against him. If he is guilty of the violation of a law, he should be removed. No state central committee member has publicly, on the record, accused Chairman Frederick of such an act.

But if he is guilty of the violation of party rules he should be reprimanded, the state central committee should keep a closer eye on what he does but he should not be removed.

I am not pro-Frederick nor am I anti-Frederick. I am pro-Republican. I want to see this party reverse its lackluster performances in recent statewide elections. I want to see this party expand its base and reach out to all voters, across the Commonwealth. This mess prevents us from doing that.

The people who elected Chairman Frederick last year, yearn for change in this party. They want to see this party grow and prosper just as much as those who oppose Chairman Frederick. If we are to have the 10,000 delegates to the state convention in May it will come from those voters. Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell need their votes just as badly as they need independents and swing voters. That being said, how energized do you think our base will be in November? How many of Jeff’s supporters will be willing to brave hot August afternoons or cold October evenings going door to door this year? Have we turned off our most loyal backers with this imbroglio? I hope not – for if it has we don’t stand a prayer of a chance of winning in November.

With each passing week, as the charges and counter-charges are leveled, the hopes of leaving the May convention united get dimmer and dimmer. I hope and pray that one day we will realize that we all belong to the same party and work together on expanding its base, reaching out to every community, etc. That won’t be accomplished unless our own base feels welcome in this party.

This party is bigger than Jeff and will survive but the change that Jeff’s election symbolized will have to come eventually. This party cannot continue to operate with a late 1990’s mentality and expect to win. This party will not succeed on the back of the legacy left behind by the Allen governorship. No matter what happens with Jeff, fundamental problems will still exist. This party needs to start addressing them – we need a 21st century game plan.

1 comment:

Andrew Clem said...

Frederick must be done something to have drawn so much flak from established party leaders, and based on the nature of his constituency ("grassroots"), I can easily imagine the shady misdeeds that must have been committed on his behalf. He obviously lacks the mature judgment required of a party leader, and the vehement, all-out defense by his partisans really creeps me out. I was perplexed by your statement:

"That won’t be accomplished unless our own base feels welcome in this party."

Those of us with first-hand experience know that the question is not whether "The Base" is welcome in the party, but whether the party welcomes anyone who does not kowtow to "The Base" 100% of the time. The problem with the GOP today is the prevailing paranoid culture of exclusion, which dooms us to continued shrinkage for the foreseeable future.